“Avoid clichés like the plague.”

Will Crawley passes on William Safire’s wise counsel on the “rules”. From Will and Testament

Safire has died, aged 79. Inevitably, the first line of his obituary mentions his role as a speechwriter for Richard Nixon, and the first line of an obituary should aim to note a figures principle accomplishment in life. In fact, Safire’s greatest achievement was his work as a speechwriter for the English language. Amongst Safire’s rules for the proper use of English are these: ‘Remember to never split an infinitive. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors. Proofread carefully to see if you words out. Avoid clichés like the plague. And don’t overuse exclamation marks!!’